Travis waited in the car while Shelly ran in to drop the garment bag at the funeral home. He needed to check in with Gordy, and call the airport to make sure Sean's flight was not delayed. Besides, he'd seen enough of the place for one day. She made her way through the lobby and it all came back to her; the cool, dry air, the low lighting and the strong smell of lilies. Still trying to process Travis's parental disclosure, she now felt shaky and slightly nauseous. Jarvis came toward her and extended a hand in greeting. He'd done her mother's funeral, and he gave Shelly the creeps.
"Hello Miss Davis," he said. "How can I help you?"
"Hi. I have the clothing you need for Yvonne Richards," she answered, ignoring his curiosity. She pulled the bag from her shoulder and passed it to him. An older woman wrung her hands at the entrance to the business office. Jarvis held up his finger to Shelly and turned to her. "Do you need to speak with me, Alice?"
"I-I'm sorry to interrupt," Alice stammered, "but Mr. Morgan from Morgan Memorials is on the phone, and he said it's urgent. It's regarding the installation of a stone."
Jarvis smiled tersely at the two women. "It looks like I'm going to have to take this call, Miss Davis; I apologize. Alice, can you please show Miss Davis downstairs? She has brought in items for Mrs. Richards in room two, and Marcy is waiting for them." He nodded politely toward Shelly before striding briskly toward the office.
Alice spoke timidly, "Follow me, Dear. It's just this way."
Shelly followed her down a narrow set of stairs into a basement that reeked of formaldehyde. They passed 'room one', and when they reached 'room two', the door stood ajar. "Here you are," Alice said, already beating feet for the stairwell. What, Shelly thought, she's just going to leave me here? She was wondering what she should do next when a young woman held the door open. She had spiked red hair, piercings in her eyebrow, nose and lip, and those see-through discs stretched her earlobes.
"I'm Marcy," she introduced herself. Shelly handed her the garment bag and backed away from the door.
"I was hoping you could come in," Marcy said. "They usually get me a picture so I know how to do the hair and makeup. I didn't get one and I need to know if I got it right."
"Wait a minute," Shelly was firm. "I'm not family. I'm only dropping stuff off. I can go and get her son..."
Marcy was persistent. "It will only take a minute, and I get better input from women. Men are no good at this kind of thing. Please?" Shelly sighed and trailed Marcy into the room. Shit shit shit!
Yvonne lay on a metal table in the center of the room. Her shoulders were bare above a sheet that covered her body, and she looked... "beautiful," Shelly heard herself say.
"I used a nude beige foundation, and tried to accentuate her delicate features with neutral tones," Marcy offered. "She was pretty, wasn't she?"
"Yes she was, I mean I didn't realize she was..." Shelly looked at Marcy. "I'm afraid you can't show her like this."
The girl was puzzled. "What do you mean?"
Shelly went to the makeup tray and picked up the brightest red lipstick Marcy had. "I mean, Yvonne wore ivory pale foundation, and blue frosted eyeshadow, and heavy black eyeliner, and this color lip. She used a lip liner, and she applied it well, but it was harsh. And you know how women used to take some of the lipstick and rub it into their cheeks? I'm pretty sure she did that. You did a great job, but her family won't know her like this."
Marcy grabbed a cannister of disposable wipes and pulled one from the top. "Alrighty then," she said under her breath. "I'll just start over."
"Thanks," Shelly unzipped the bag she'd brought. "There's a black dress in here, and stockings and shoes, and here's her jewelry. There's underwear too. Will you need anything else?"
Marcy had sat down on a rolling stool and was already getting to work. "Nope, I'm good. Thanks for the info."
Shelly met Jarvis at the top of the stairs. "Miss Davis, I'm so sorry. Alice is new here... I never meant for you to be escorted directly to the anteroom. Are you alright?"
"I'm fine, thank you." She realized she was crying; when had that started? "Someone's waiting for me outside."
She pushed past him and out the door, pausing for a minute to compose herself.
Travis stood next to the car. "Jesus, I thought you got lost in there. Was everything okay?"
"Just fine," Shelly opened the door on her side. "Jarvis held me up. How are you?"
"You know Jarvis, huh? How 'bout them eyebrows?" His smile faded. " Hey, you been cryin'?"
"Nah," she rubbed her nose. "I think I'm allergic to lilies. Ready to go?"
"Yeah," he turned the key in the ignition. "That's why I was about to come find you. My kid's been at the airport for an hour."